This is how your dog should be able to describe the sanctity of his crate. To be viewed as a place of comfort and solitude whilst providing owners with peace of mind that their beloved pooch is safe (and so is their house!)
Crate training is an effective training tool for puppies and adult dogs. It assists in managing toilet training regimes and keeps puppies and young dogs alike, safe from harm and out of mischief when they are unable to be supervised. Pet experts agree that dog’s crates are safe, effective and reminiscent of dog’s ancestral dens!
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A CRATE
Type of crate Wire collapsible metal crates are the best choice being most durable, easy to clean and readily available on ebay. Fabric crates with zip up mesh doors should only be used if you are certain your dog is happy and calm inside and not inclined to scratch through the mesh. Plastic travel style crates are good for the short term but not ideal for longterm use.
Size – A crate should be big enough for a dog to stand up, turn around easily and lie down- plan for growth
Bedding – Bedding should be comfortable and cosy making an appealing place to curl up for a nap. It should not take up the whole crate space. If your puppy starts chewing the bedding use other enrichment options to give alternative chewables.
Water – When enclosed in the crate the dog should always have access to water, there are bowls designed for hanging in the wire and plastic crates or alternatively no spill style bowls
Toys and Treats – Providing toys and treats will increase the likelihood that the dog will view the crate as an enjoyable place to hang out, if good things always happen in there why wouldn’t you want to go back? Rubber chew toys filled with food will help the dog pass the time in an enjoyable way, even his favourite snuggle toys will make his crate a cosier haven
Location – Where possible set the crate up in a central part of the home (living room, TV room ect.) This will encourage investigation and use of the crate without the dog feeling isolated away from the family, particularly important in the initial training period where you are building positive associations
CRATE TRAINING PROCESS
When beginning crate training you need to create a positive association with the crate. This is where feeding, treats and treat-stuffed rubber chew toys will come in handy.
STEP 1: Introduction to the crate Place the crate in the central location with a comfy bed inside, where possible secure the door to avoid swinging or knocking the dog and causing a fright. Allow the dog to explore at leisure, move over to the crate and start speaking to the dog in a happy tone of voice. Encourage entry by tossing a handful of treats inside. Don’t crowd the dog, let him enter and explore under his own volition. In passing continue to toss treats into the crate at every opportunity until he is almost beating you to get in there, each time he enters the crate start creating a verbal association by repeating the word “Crate” or “Bed”.
STEP 2: Feed meals and stuffed treat chews inside the crate If the dog is readily hopping into the crate on your approach to it, place his food bowl in front of him, if he is still hesitant place the bowl up on the back of the crate to encourage entry. Once the dog is comfortable eating in the crate close the door while he eats, the first few times open the door as soon as the bowl is empty, with each successive meal leave the door closed for a few minutes longer. Before opening the door, each time ask the dog to sit and feed a treat through the top of the crate. Then open the door and invite the dog out which should help minimise a frantic exit, here you can use the same verbal cue you might use to release the dog from a stay eg “Free” or “OK”
STEP 3: Lengthen the Crating period Once the dog is happily eating meals and treats inside the crate without any fear or anxiety, he can be confined for short periods of time whilst you are home. Continue to send the dog into the crate on a verbal cue and reward with a food filled treat dispenser. Go about your usual routine and release the dog from the crate after a period of time, build and extend on this where possible. After your dog can spend approx. 30 minutes in the crate with you at home but mostly out of sight you can attempt short trips out of the home. Make your departures and arrivals low key with no emotional long goodbyes and hellos. Be matter of fact when you return and don’t even make eye contact for a few minutes, giving the pup time to settle before letting her out, this will help reduce any anxiety created by your departure and your return.
DO’S AND DON’TS
Do use positive training to create a positive association
Do provide comfortable bedding
Do initially keep crate training sessions short
Do provide plenty of exercise and interaction when the when the pup is not crated
Don’t force the dog to enter the crate
Don’t use the crate as punishment
Don’t leave your dog in the crate for the crate for too long
Don’t allow children to play in the crate or with the dog while he is cornered in the crate, this is his sanctuary and she may have placed herself in the crate to avoid confrontation.